- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2004

Nobles: Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr., for sticking to his guns in the midst of a political firestorm.

There is perhaps no greater display of courage than confronting the powerful in their quest for power. Adm. Schachte claims to be the mysterious “fourth member” of a skimmer that was on night patrol on Dec. 2, 1968, with then-Lt. John Kerry when the latter received the injury that earned him his first Purple Heart. For alleging that Mr. Kerry didn’t deserve his Purple Heart, Adm. Schachte has been vilified by Kerry attack dogs recently in a smear campaign designed to silence those speaking out.

Reluctant to talk to members of the media, the retired admiral has given only two interviews since “Unfit for Command,” the book that places Adm. Schachte on Mr. Kerry’s skimmer, came out two weeks ago. One of them was with columnist Bob Novak this week. In the interview, Adm. Schachte reiterates his version of events that night, while providing sound military reasons for his presence on board, and anecdotal evidence from Mr. Kerry himself for his presence.

As Mr. Novak reports, it wasn’t until Kerry lawyer Lanny Davis personally attacked Adm. Schachte’s credibility that he decided to defend his honor. No doubt the Kerry campaign will continue to question that honor in the weeks ahead.

For courage above and beyond, Adm. Schachte is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: The Kerry campaign, for attempting to silence the First Amendment rights of fellow Americans for pure political power.

On Aug. 19, John Kerry had a defiant answer to his critics — well, actually, to President Bush — concerning his Vietnam record: “If [Mr. Bush] wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: Bring it on.” Problem is, Mr. Bush has never questioned Mr. Kerry’s Vietnam War record. But those who have, specifically the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a 527 organization, responded to Mr. Kerry by bringing it on.

It didn’t take very long for Mr. Kerry, probably concerned about his declining support among veterans, to ask the Federal Election Commission to take it off. On Aug. 20, the Kerry campaign filed a complaint with the FEC arguing that the Swift veterans’ ads and their book, “Unfit for Command,” violate campaign-finance laws and should be taken off the air and out of circulation. Meanwhile, both Mr. Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, have canvassed the country this week putting the blame of 264 Vietnam veterans and their completely legal right to free speech at the feet of Mr. Bush. So, in just under one week, the man who would be has asked the sitting president and a federal agency to stifle the free speech of Americans.

For playing politics with Americans’ most cherished right, Mr. Kerry and his campaign are the Knaves of the week.


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